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General Pinochet

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Jay of Paddington): The Prime Minister and Sr Aznar met most recently in Britain during the weekend of 10 and

7 Jun 1999 : Column WA123

11 April. The Prime Minister made a statement on the outcome of the discussions in reply to a written parliamentary Question on 20 April 1999 [H.C. Deb., WA 595].

Families: Support

Baroness Rendell of Babergh asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will be publishing the results of the consultation on supporting families.HL2760

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): On Tuesday 8 June, the Government will publish a summary of the responses to Supporting Families. Copies of the document will be placed in the Library and will also be made available in the Printed Paper Office.

Licensing Law

Viscount Exmouth asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Williams of Mostyn on 18 May (WA 22), when the review of licensing law will be completed; and whether it will be published.HL2590

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Government announced last May a comprehensive review of liquor licensing legislation with the aim of producing a simpler and more effective system. We aim to publish proposals for public consultation by early next year.

Electoral Candidates: Age Limits

Lord Patten asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to introduce an age limit above which candidates may not stand for election as Members of Parliament; and, if so, what is that age; andHL2599

    Whether they intend to introduce an age limit above which candidates may not stand for election as Members of the Scottish Parliament; and, if so, what is that age; andHL2600

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    Whether they intend to introduce an age limit above which candidates may not stand for election as Members of the Welsh Assembly; and, if so, what is that age; andHL2601

    Whether they intend to introduce an age limit above which candidates may not stand for election as councillors; and, if so, what is that age.HL2602

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Government have no plans to introduce an upper age limit for candidates for any of these elections.

Video Appeals Committee

Lord Ashbourne asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Video Appeals Committee is empowered to overturn decisions of the British Board of Film Classification concerning the classification of pornographic videos.[HL2636]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Section 4(3) of the Video Recordings Act 1984 requires the Home Secretary to be satisfied that adequate arrangements exist for appeals against classification decisions by the designated authority, the British Board of Film Classification. The Video Appeals Committee is the independent body which hears such appeals. Although the committee has no statutory authority, it has been the practice of the board to accept its decisions.

Post Office Robberies

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many post offices and sub-post offices have been robbed or broken into in each police force area in England in each month during the most recent 12-month period.[HL2593]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Information collected centrally on recorded crime by the Home Office does not identify the location of robberies. However, separate monthly data are collected on the number of robberies at post offices where a firearm (excluding an air weapon) was reported to have been used. This information, for each month in 1997, is shown in the table. In addition to these figures, there were eight post office robberies during the whole of 1997 where an air weapon was used.

Armed robbery at Post Offices (excluding air weapons) by month and by police force area, 1997

MonthJanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecemberTotal
Police Force
Avon & Somerset0001112000016
Bedfordshire0000001001103
Cambridgeshire 0000101200001
Cleveland1000000000001
Cumbria0001000000001
Derbyshire0010001110105
Dorset1000000000012
Durham0000100000001
Essex0100000010002
Gloucestershire0000000011103
Gtr. Manchester65132192054543
Hampshire0001000000001
Hertfordshire0011000000103
Humberside0000010000001
Kent0000010000203
Lancashire0100203000107
Merseyside0600000010108
Metropolitan10371086266841383
Norfolk0000001000001
Northamptonshire0000100000001
Northumbria1001111010028
North Yorkshire0000000001001
Nottinghamshire0100020000003
South Yorkshire1010100000036
Staffordshire0000000000101
Surrey0000100000001
Sussex1110001011006
Thames Valley3100020010007
Warwickshire0100000100013
West Mercia0000100000012
West Midlands31261743326543
West Yorkshire10022333010015
Wiltshire0000000012003
Dyfed Powys0010000000001
North Wales0000000010001
South Wales0000000020002
Total282115262325291820222332282

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7 Jun 1999 : Column WA125

Redirected Mail

Lord Williams of Elvel asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether applications for redirection of mail from one address to another are confidential between the applicant and the Post Office or whether they are available for publication to unrelated third parties; and, if so, on what authority and on what legal basis.[HL2614]

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Simon of Highbury): I understand that it is not Royal Mail policy to disclose information about the redirection of mail without the redirection customer's consent apart from the exceptions listed below which are consistent with its registration under the Data Protection Act:


    Redirection information can be made available to third parties in the following circumstances.


    If a redirected letter cannot be delivered for any reason and is returned to sender, the sender will see the new address of the customer on the redirection label.


    Data protection opt-out boxes are used on redirection application forms and, unless customers refuse permission, selected organisations may be notified of the move through the National Change of Address Service.


    Personal data may be disclosed for public policy reasons under Section 28 of the Data Protection Act 1984. Royal Mail's general policy is to make disclosures under this provision to bodies which have statutory or law enforcement powers.


    Royal Mail is required to provide information about the redirection of mail to authorised bodies under the Social Security Administration Act 1992

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    as amended by the Social Security Administration (Fraud) Act 1997.

First Class Mail Delivery Times

Lord Dixon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What percentage of first class mail is delivered the following day.[HL2647]

Lord Simon of Highbury: I understand from the Post Office that the national percentages of mail delivered on the next working day for the period from 6 April 1998 to 28 March 1999 were as follows:

OverallWithin local postcode areaTo neighbouring postcode areaTo distant areas
91.1%94.5%91.6%86.7%

These figures are produced by independent all year round monitoring.

Royal Mail aims to deliver first class mail on the next working day after posting but this service has never guaranteed a next-day delivery. For a guaranteed service, Royal Mail offers a Special Delivery service which guarantees delivery by noon the next working day or customers are refunded their postage costs.



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